Don’t just teach your kids to read, teach them to question what they read. Teach them to question everything. – George Carlin
One question that I have received from parents, educators and school administrators repeatedly is: How early does one begin to incorporate STEM education into the curriculum of students in order to match up with the demands of the 21st century? And, my response is always: Catch them young!
First a quick recap. Last week, one of my readers asked what STEM education stood for; and I expalined it as an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, infused together to make learning more relevant to real world problems. For a nation to be economically prosperous, science and technology must be elevated as a priority.
Thoughts of STEM education conjure up high school students taking chemistry and algebra courses, not third graders and multiplication. Yet we fail to realise that without the foundation of multiplication tables in the third grade, there would be no algebra or chemistry. All it takes is some tweaking of the curriculum of the younger ones and voila, it becomes a STEM-based curriculum.
Why Catch Them Young?
A myriad of studies show that children who are exposed to STEM education early on are better equipped in comprehending STEM concepts later on as they progress through school.
It is to our advantage to integrate STEM lessons early into their daily curriculum to advance the ability of children to develop stronger understanding of STEM skills, as well as to boost their future interest. We should remember that it is in our best interest to encourage STEM education because the job growth rate for STEM careers is more than 38 percent and it is growing rapidly. Also, STEM careers are highly paid ones.
Integrating STEM Into the Curriculum
Recently during a training, I demonstrated how cleaning up a make believe oil spill would be a great lesson for our elementary school students. We should involve them in the need for a cleaner environment for their health and future. Also, they should be acquainted with the use of technology as part of their research or as a crucial resource. STEM helps learners to engage in logical reasoning to develop solutions for real-world situations.
Catching them young begins with developing and eliciting interest when students are young. Also, planning lessons and interactions for students can make the difference in creating productive STEM learning environments.
To foster future readiness for our students, it is critical we begin to plant the seeds today that will make them successful for tomorrow.
Adetola Salau; Educator / Speaker / Author/ Social Entrepreneur / Innovator
She is an Advocate of STEM Education and is Passionate about Education reform. She is an innovative thinker and strives for our society & continent as a whole to reclaim it’s greatness. She runs an educational foundation with the mission to transform education.